Spring/Summer 2023

Travel and Tourism
Naturally Norway

Immerse yourself in a picturesque tapestry of green forests, cascading rivers, majestic mountains covered with snow, and breathtaking fjords. And there’s more, add a touch of enchantment with the mesmerising Aurora Borealis dancing in the sky.

Norway, a playground for adventure seekers, has it all for the new wave of travellers.

Aimed at providing seamless and discerning Norway experiences to high-net-worth travellers, especially from the Gulf, Jordanian-born Mohammad Khateeb has launched a new concierge service, Protocol 47.

With an emphasis on delivering the very best Norway has to offer, this service provides a gateway to a world of exotic adventures, remarkable accommodations, unforgettable dining, and impeccable transportation.

“Our dedicated protocol officers are here to ensure your desires are met every step of the way,” reveals Khateeb, the CEO and Founder. “Their passion lies in introducing our guests to the rich culture and traditions that make Norway so unique. We believe in delivering genuine service and an unwavering attention to detail.”

From conquering mountains to horseback riding, sailing through pristine waters, and witnessing the majestic whales in their natural habitat, Khateeb promises a range of experiences that will leave you awe-inspired.

These tailor-made adventures are meticulously crafted for active individuals yearning for a journey of discovery and action.

But Norway isn’t just for thrill-seekers; it also caters to those seeking a romantic getaway. With its breathtaking scenery and enchanting ambiance, Norway ranks among the most romantic vacation destinations worldwide. As Khateeb eloquently puts it: “In Norway, just be yourself.”

As the head of this luxury travel concierge service based in Bergen, Khateeb takes a unique and classical approach to luxury travel. He emphasises the importance of immersive local experiences, offering a low-profile, old-world charm to his discerning clients. Khateeb is also the Head of Protocol and International Relations at De Historiske – Historic Hotels & Restaurants, a unique organisation of Norway’s most charming hotels and restaurants. De Historiske has established an internal brand called New Nordic Luxury, which currently includes seven of its finest hotels.

Educated in the United Arab Emirates and with a background in managing diplomatic and government relationships for luxury hoteliers in the GCC, Khateeb brings a wealth of expertise to the table.

Arabian Knight’s Breck Graham recently spoke to Khateeb, delving into what Norway offers and the passion and vision behind Protocol 47.


How did you recognise the need to establish Protocol 47?

After my move to Norway in the summer of 2017, I was fully immersed in Norwegian culture and lifestyle through my wife and her family, who are originally from Bergen. Naturally, I began comparing the Norwegian way of life to what I was accustomed to in the GCC countries. Initially, it was a cultural shock for me, discovering how the entire society is built on a foundation of a flat structure, equality in all aspects, respect, and a slower pace of life. The more I learned, the more fascinated I became.

As a hotelier with a degree from a Swiss hotel school and a 12-year career in some of the world’s leading luxury hotel brands, I strongly believe that a hotel should always maintain its commitment to genuine service, holding doors open for guests, respecting the older generation, and addressing people formally. The absence of such common standards can easily lead to cultural misunderstandings. And thus, the concept of Protocol 47 was born.

The idea behind Protocol 47 is to incorporate international protocol standards into hotels and hospitality. These standards have traditionally been associated with royal palaces, embassies, diplomatic events, and official visits. By referencing protocol in such situations, we aim to bridge cultural gaps between guests and hosts since protocol is defined as a set of rules and behaviours that outline the correct conduct and procedures to follow in formal situations. Following protocol standards when dealing with international guests ensures a safe and respectful environment. The number 47 in our name refers to the country code of Norway.

In other words, Protocol 47 was founded to define the Norwegian approach to delivering high-end standards in hospitality and tourism.

Whether you’re an individual seeking solitude or a group yearning for adventure, Protocol 47 ensures that every detail is flawlessly managed from start to finish, guaranteeing a truly personalised and unforgettable experience.


What is your pillar of service for high-net-worth clients?

Our pillar of service for high-net-worth clients is to ensure that we adhere to international protocol standards while considering Norwegian culture and, of course, taking into account their specific preferences and practices. With our meticulous attention to detail and utmost professionalism, we provide our clients with a seamless travel experience, allowing them to transition effortlessly and feel at ease throughout their journey.


Why are GCC travellers choosing go-slow destinations in contrast to more prominent fast-moving places?

In the aftermath of the pandemic, travellers from the GCC region are increasingly drawn to slower-paced destinations that connect them with nature, away from bustling cities. They now seek the tranquility of cabin-style accommodations, embracing a more serene environment instead of dynamic city hotels.

Furthermore, the rise of social media has recently exposed Norway as a pristine nature destination through the influence of famous personalities. It has earned a reputation for being a safe and affluent country, attracting discerning travellers seeking elevated experiences. Additionally, the impact of global warming on various destinations, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius in many popular European spots, has enhanced the appeal of Norway and other northern Scandinavian countries, where summer temperatures remain below 25 degrees Celsius.


“Be Your Self in Norway” – can you explain the meaning behind this quote?

In Norway, there is a distinct cultural aversion to showing off or feeling the need to impress others. You can live your life authentically, true to yourself, without seeking validation. This mentality is a powerful selling point for our redefined luxury tourism. In Norwegian society, you may witness the wealthiest individuals taking the bus to work simply because it is more convenient than driving. It is not uncommon to see both the prime minister and a cashier in a supermarket taking their children to the same kindergarten, as everyone is regarded as equal. In simpler terms, Norwegians do not judge others based on appearance, wealth, power, or social status. In fact, we choose not to judge each other at all.


New Nordic Luxury, for many, is a new concept. What is the definition?

De Historiske comprises a group of over 90 historical hotels, each with its own unique identity. Many of these hotels have been family-owned for several generations, spread across 90 locations throughout the country. To ensure our hotels compete for excellence, we established an internal brand called New Nordic Luxury, which currently includes seven of our finest hotels known as Pilot hotels. Each of these hotels had to meet strict criteria and scored highly in terms of service level, food and beverage standards, interior and exterior appearance, facilities, and experiences. The aim of New Nordic Luxury hotels is to redefine the luxury stay and travel experience by integrating sustainability into all our operations and services, in alignment with the United Nations’ 17 sustainability development goals.

The New Nordic Luxury hotels include: Lysebu Hotel in Oslo, Britannia Hotel in Trondheim, Funken Lodge in Svalbard (near the northern pole), Storfjord Hotel in Ålesund, Union Øye Hotel in the fjords region, Åmot Royal Farm in Førde, Eilert Smith in Stavanger, and Boen Royal Farm in Kristiansand.


How does a person pack for travel to Europe’s northernmost points?

In a word: wool, wool, wool. There’s a famous Norwegian quote that says, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.” When packing your suitcase for a trip to Norway in autumn or winter, be sure to include wool socks, underwear, gloves, a hat, and a scarf. A raincoat and hiking shoes are also essential. Pack one waterproof outfit, one casual outfit, and a dressed-up outfit for dinner.  

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